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Home Blood Pressure Checks Promoted

Regular blood pressure check at home is the theme of this year's National Hypertension Day as the Ministry of Health (MOH) reminds those afflicted by the life-threatening condition to keep it under control.

As part of the day's efforts to raise awareness, the ministry encouraged regional health departments to provide consulting services to local residents on how to measure blood pressure by themselves.

Some 200 million Chinese people, or 15 percent of the Chinese population, suffer from high blood pressure, according to ministry statistics.

But only 30 percent know of their disease, while 25 percent seek treatment and just 6 percent control their high blood pressure.

It said the public should frequently monitor blood pressure and see doctors regularly.

World Hypertension Day on May 17 also adopted the theme of "measuring your blood pressure at home".

In a survey conducted by the ministry, Beijing's Cardiovascular Institute and Fuwai Hospital in 2007, out of Beijing's 9,900 high blood pressure patient respondents, just 30 percent regularly measure it at home.

In Italy, a survey in 2005 found 75 percent of 855 clinic patients in six hospitals measured blood pressure at home.

"Chinese people, particularly those from underdeveloped areas, still lack healthcare awareness," Liu Lisheng, head of the World Hypertension League, said.

"Some patients only take medicine when they don't feel well, but actually their blood pressure can be high without feeling any symptoms," she said.

The Chinese Hypertension League has distributed 30,000 guidebooks on "measuring your blood pressure at home" nationwide, the league's secretary-general Wang Wen said.

Wang also suggested communities should provide a service for those incapable of measuring their blood pressure at home.

Wang Lianzhi, 70, who has been measuring her blood pressure at home for more than 10 years, said improved monitoring has had a positive effect on her treatment.

"Previously I only took the medicine when I was feeling dizzy, but with the high blood pressure measuring facility, I can take the medicine when I need it," Wang said.

As she ages, Wang said, it is much more convenient to measure her blood pressure at home.

(China Daily October 8, 2008)

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